Allen Hirsh

Allen Hirsh's art is algorithmic, drawn by equations.

Most digital artists use commercial software tools, e.g. Adobe Photoshop. Instead, I manipulate my images solely with equations in computer software I have written. Using my equations as virtual brushes and paint I explore the patterns hidden in photographs, previously transformed images, and their hybrids. My art doesn't look like traditional mathematical art, e.g. fractal art, because I strive to create textures and abstractions that are as 'painterly' as possible. I often combine images that are seemingly incompatible, e.g. flowers and printers, Dutch windmills and people, or cafes and vases of silk flowers. I usually seek to explore beauty in my images. This flows naturally from my love of gardening. We know that many of the most precious things in our lives are the beautiful and priceless gifts bestowed by the natural world: flowers, trees, butterflies and birds. It is that beauty that I want my work to represent.



My interest in being an artist comes from growing up in a close-knit community in Central New Jersey in the early 1950s as the son of Jewish chicken farmers turned landscapers. My parents? switch to horticulture was a true gift to me, nurturing a fascination with exotic plants and gardens beginning in my elementary school years, an attachment that has remained with me to this day. Indeed, it is photographic images of the plants that I grew in my own exotic garden that serve as the basis for much of my digital art. I genuinely love to look at and cultivate plants and admire their beauty, but even as a very young child I also had a passion for math and science that sealed my commitment to science at a very early age. Today, I am a practicing biophysicist, but I have also developed as a mathematical artist due to a seminal family tie. My brother Gene is a classically trained artist in oils and watercolors, and by the late 80s he had also become a digital artist, using available tools such as Photoshop and Painter to create elegant representational paintings from photographs. When our first child came in 1992, he urged me to try fractal style painting with the computer because I am good at math and he said it might relax me. Up to that point I, like a lot of biologists, was an indifferent computer programmer. Now I had a second chance, and I dived into learning proper structured programming by initially building screen saver painting programs. I soon switched to working every night on digital imaging problems my brother gave me, until I finally turned exclusively to scientific programming at the turn of the century, and this focus on computer programming proved invaluable to my professional scientific work. Yet in the years since, slowly cooking in my subconscious was a scheme for a very large and complex color and space manipulation engine. It took me years to finally sit down and write the code, and I am continually expanding it, but it has been fully operational for several years, allowing me to create a wide array of representational, impressionist, surreal and abstract images purely through the use of mathematics.

Allen Hirsh's AutoGallery exhibit

Allen Hirsh's Website